Apple’s “Breakthrough Device”, Not So Revolutionary?

From Wired News: Apple on Tuesday will unveil a new portable electronic device that allows people to listen to digital music files away from the computer, according to sources familiar with the company. The device -- called the iPod -- can be synched with the computer using a high-speed cable connection that allows consumers to download their music into a portable system, which can then be accessed by either a car or home stereo system. Last Wednesday, Simple Devices released a wireless platform that allows users to stream MP3 files from a personal computer to home or car stereo systems. Motorola will roll out a wireless receiver for home stereos that runs on the new Simple Devices platform.

RMS Requests GNOME Summary Cease Mention of Non-Free Software

"...Some weeks ago we got a mail from Richard Stallman asking that we stop all mentions of non-free software in the GNOME summaries. The background for the request was that we had mentioned the beta of Star Office some time back. I argued that the purpose of the GNOME summaries was to promote GNOME and while our focus of course is free software I felt that it was natural to mention the availability of non-free software where the existence of such software where a clear advantage for GNOME. RMS replied telling us that he disagreed with my argument and saying that we are legitimatizing the use of non-free software by mentioning it..." This is part of the email that Christian Schaller sent to the Gnome Foundation mailing list asking the Gnome users for their opinion on how to proceed on the matter. So far, the replies are taking Christian's side and some mentioned that Richard Stallman's opinions are, simply put, extreme in this case.

Mandrake Put an End to Plex86?

Latest news on Mandrake Software are their release candidate Linux version for Itanium, and that their developers are now preparing Object Prelinked versions of KDE for the next Mandrake, dubbed Cooker. But there are also news about lay offs which took place recently over at MandrakeSoft, in which Kevin Lawton, the person behind Plex86 and also the original author of the x86 emulator Bochs, was layed off. Kevin doesn't know what will happen to the ambitious Plex86 project now he parted with the company that previously backed the whole project. Our Take: First of all, good luck to Kevin. We are sure he will find soon another job, as he is an extremely skilled developer. Plex86 is open source, so it may live up, but there is... a small catch. Developing for Plex86 is _extremely hard_. It requires developers with spiffy low level x86 knowledge, it is not a project about a new email or IM client or a new cool-looking window manager. There are not many developers with such deep knowledge, this is why Kevin worked on it with little help from others for so long. When I was part of the original BeUnited's admin team, we had Plex86 as one of our projects to be ported to BeOS. During the period of 1 year, the project changed 3 team leaders (one of them was a proven experienced BeOS developer), each and every one called its quits for the exact same reason: Not enough knowledge to work on such a complex project.

PowerPC G5 Performance “Stunning”

Motorola's PowerPC 8500 - aka the G5 - continues to move steadily toward its scheduled release, TheRegister reports. The G5 is the next major version of the PowerPC architecture and includes a new internal bus structure, a longer, ten-stage instruction pipeline, redesigned integer and floating-point maths units. It will be offered in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and fabbed using silicon-on-insulator technology at 0.13 micron. Check out the SPEC CPU benchmarks which show that the G5 outperforms the current versions of Pentium 4, by a large margin.

Interview With Robert Szeleney, SkyOS’s Project Leader

SkyOS is a home brewed operating system, created by Robert Szeleney in the last few years as a hobby project. As SkyOS gets bigger and more advanced, its popularity and importance are also growing, driving the 3-member team to add more and more functionality. Latest in their efforts is the -- already working according to the SkyOS web site-- Linux emulation layer which runs Linux binaries natively, without recompiling. Among their future plans is also a Windows emulation layer. But SkyOS is much more than emulation layers, it has a personality and functionality of its own. Read more for what Robert has to say about SkyOS and its future.

Introducing the FreeMiNT for Atari Computers

Adam Klobukowski wrote in to say: "Most of you think that Atari computers are dead. In fact they are, but they are still some survivors. FreeMiNT is an Open Source operating system for 16/32 bit Ataris: ATARI ST/STE/MEGA ST/Mega STE/TT/Falcon 030, and clones: Hades/Medusa/Milan. It is under continuous developent and last stable version (1.15.12) was relased about a month ago. Developers are busy working on 1.16. FreeMiNT offers preempative multitasking, memory protection (on 020+ processors), loadable filesystems (VFAT, Minix, Ext2), shared libraries and easy TCP/IP networking. The main FreeMiNT distribution is called SpareMiNT and is based on RPM. Because over the years FreeMint (formerly known as MiNT) developement was a bit messy it is coverend by few diffrent software linceses, but mainly by GNU GPL. There is also a standard C library implementation (libc) called MiNTLib (and is covered by GNU GPL and LGPL). The main future goals of FreeMINT are: adding better shared library support along with ELF support and virtual memory support."

The Desktop Open War

From Wired: "It started as a crusade for free source code. Linux zealots turned it into a full-frontal assault on Microsoft. Now the battle for the desktop could snatch defeat from the jaws of moral victory." This is the teaser of a four page interesting editorial from Russ Mitchell found on Wired. The author recognises that "Linux has a real shot in the enterprise business", but he believes that Linux is never going to get a respectful share of the desktop market, and he presents a number arguments for it. He also includes statements from many people like Rob Malda and Red Hat employees who, surprisingly, state that the real enemy for their business today is not Microsoft (where most of their joe-user customers are far reached from Linux's "nerd" market), but companies like Sun and the "traditional" Unices like Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX and Tru64.

WindowsXP May Spark Ultimate Battle to Own the Net

Jeffy124 reports on Slashdot: "C|net is embarking on a seven day comprehensive report on how Microsoft is moving themselves into position to be The 'Gatekeeper Of The Internet' through WindowsXP. The first installment explains the basics of how this is going to happen: Reminders that last for days encouraging users to sign up for Passport, and how Windows will evenutally resemble services like AOL." The second installment explains the whole masterplan behind .NET and how it is going to position Microsoft as a kind of a... global monopoly.

Debian GNU/Hurd CD release ‘G1’

The good folks over at Debian have released the first alpha CD distribution 'G1' of Debian GNU/Hurd. This release consists of three CDs, but only the first one is necessary to get a usable system running. They have a page with install information that you'll definitely want to read before trying it out. (Hint: Don't forget to run /native-install and reboot, then repeat, or you'll be stuck in single-user mode.) The primary download site at is often busy, so try one of the GNU mirrors or this temporary mirror if you have trouble getting in. We had fun installing and playing around with the Hurd on a spare machine. As they warn, this is still very raw and experimental, but this kinder, gentler release finally makes the Hurd more accessible to the non-diehard crowd. See the GNU Hurd main website for more project information and history.

Making the Case for BeOS’s Pervasive Multithreading

Forcing a developer to use multithreading, which is pretty complex for most programmers to code for, it is the wrong way to go for an OS. There was some controversy about this, but at the end, the experienced programmers agreed. And Maarten Hekkelman, of the Pepper fame (Maarten is also the same person who wrote the BeOS debugger when he was hired by Be to do so), seems to agree too: There won't be a Pepper for BeOS, just because the BeOS design does not make it easy to code such a big and complex app. Before you start replying in this story, make sure you read all the comments here. Our Take: I love BeOS, but BeOS is not perfect. In fact, what Be's marketing was trying to sell as the best feature of BeOS, pervasive multithreading, it is also its most weak spot. Now you know why big apps crashing too much under BeOS, and why there are not many big apps available anyway. Too hard to code big apps for such an environment, for most developers. Take Scooby for example. This person's multithreading code, is far below par, and mind you, Mr Takamatsu is an experienced developer. Scooby still crashes too much though and locks up the app_server at times, in a spaghetti multithreading confusion... Same goes for Gim-ICQ and lots of other apps.Update: Maarten Hekkelman responded to our comment section explaining his decision and Pepper's design.

News Flash: Microsoft is NOT the “Evil Empire”

In an interview with the St Petersburg Times, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer stressed most emphatically (is he ever not emphatic?) that his company is not an "Evil Empire." He says, "I don't think it's right and I think it causes people to make decisions which are not even in their best interest . . . A, we're not evil. B, we're not an empire." A article has the entire interview with Microsoft's energetic CEO.

Interview with Jason Filby from the ReactOS Project

ReactOS is an effort to re-create the WindowsNT platform, in an open source sense (GPL). The team works towards source compatibility with NT's applications and drivers by re-creating the Microsoft APIs. More developers are always welcomed in the project, but there is already a number of them working for the last 3 years, splitted into several teams. Jason Filby, head developer of ReactOS, answers to a series of questions regarding the project.

Motorola Completes its new 64-bit CPU, G5

Apple will probably be satisfied this month, seen Motorola completing the G5, the next generation of PPC CPUs, which it will be 64-bit, but it will also run 32-bit code in almost full speed. Apple is preparing a 64-bit version of MacOSX and they insist that porting the OSX apps over to the new CPU, it will be as easy as recompiling the app for the new CPU. The CPU will clock from 1 GHz to 1.6 GHz for its first generation. For now, Apple has released a long awaited dual 800 G4 machine, while it upgrades the iBook and PowerBook series of laptops with more RAM, speed and features. In the meantime, Transmeta announced yesterday their new Crusoe CPU which it will clock 1 Ghz and it will be available sometime next year. Intel is getting ready to release the first mobile Pentium4, which it will start clocking at 1.5 Ghz, while AMD strugles to produce new products that can compete with Intel directly and finds refuge in marketing tricks, renaming their line of CPUs as Athlon XP or Athlon 1800+. Same tricks Cyrix was doing 3-4 years ago when they could not produce CPUs with faster clock speed than the competition.

MySQL 4.0 is Released

Patrik Wallström writes "The long awaited version 4.0 of MySQL has been released. It is in its alpha stage, and among the new features are SSL-connections, increased speed, more compatibility with other DBMS's and the SQL standard, transactions with the InnoDB table type and more. Download here, and read all the news in the 4.00 version here."

QT 3.0 Final Released

After 5 months in public beta testing, QT 3.0, the next incarnation of the popular multi-platform GUI Toolkit from TrollTech has been released. Qt 3.0 introduces a large number of new and powerful features: The ability to build platform- and database independent database applications, greatly improved internationalisation and font handling, rich text engine that also supports richtext input/editing in addition to rendering, Qt Designer, a full-fledged GUI builder that now supports main window development, and includes an integrated C++ editor, Qt Linguist provides easy translation of Qt GUIs to different languages, Qt Assistant eases browsing and finding information in the Qt Documentation. In addition there are numerous other improvements such as Multiple Monitor Support, HTTP network protocol support, Support for latest evolutions in GUIs, Accessibility support and 64-bit Safety. Qt 3.0 also features a new and powerful Regular Expression Engine, which greatly simplifies complex text-manipulation operations. The syntax is compatible to, and as powerful as, Perl regular expressions, while at the same time including full support for Unicode. QT 3.0 is the basis for the next KDE and while it breaks binary compatibility, it keeps source compatibility with QT 2.x.

Mac OS X 10.1 – A Road Test

OS News' review of Mac OS X last week certainly stirred up controversy, partially because some die hard Mac fans perceived that it was improper for an outsider (someone who is not an everyday Mac user) to me making broad criticisms after only a superficial introduction to the New operating system. Well, folks, that's why they call it a review. We thought that Apple's major new OS also deserved a road test, and there were two very important events in Mac OS X history just a few days ago that toppled the last major obstacle to making it ready for millions of Mac users to start using it as their everyday OS: the 10.1 release and the release of Microsoft Office X. Last week, I made the switch and started using Mac OS X as my everyday OS. Here's how it went: